Day 736: Get Your Rear In There

I know that I’ve addressed this time and time and time again… buuuuuuuuut I’m going to harp on it again because of an article I read this week that totally matched up with some of my non-scientific observations.

People: we have GOT to sleep more!

We have just got to get our rears. in. bed.

I mean, just look at this infographic from the Huffington Post! Two of their major points are connected with weight gain and eating! Obviously that’s going to get our attention, but… well, maybe it SHOULD get our attention! {Don’t worry, I have a few tips below it to help us!}

So, can we just agree to do whatever it takes to get our rears in bed tonight in time to fall asleep?

And I’m not saying get your rear in bed at bedtime… I’m saying that we need to put a system in place that gets our bodies in bed, relaxed, and

get ready for sleep before bedtime!

So, here are a few of my little “tricks” for getting my rear in there!

  1. GET UP: No one likes this one so I’m just going to get it out of the way: get your body out of bed at the same time, every day and don’t get more than 8 hours of sleep. (Okay, okay, sleep in on Saturday if you want!) If you are trying to get your body into a habit of getting to sleep at night, waking up in the morning is THE most important thing to do. It might mean a few days of dragging yourself out of bed and just muddling through the day but eventually this can really help you to get to sleep at night because… well, because you’ll be exhausted! But that exhaustion will wear off when you start falling asleep easily (or easier, at least) at night.
  2. DO THE MATH: Figure out what time you need to go to sleep (as in “lights out”) in order to get 8 hours of sleep… even if this means that you need turn the lights out at 9:30, give it a go for a few weeks and see how it makes you feel. Then, plan backwards: 15-30 minutes before “lights out”, you need to be in bed with tech off. I have read the research that supports that your mind can’t “chill out” with the lights of tech in it. And that includes the phone, the laptop, the TV, etc. Now, go backwards more:. 15 minutes before being in bed you need to start getting ready for bed: brushing teeth, washing your face, PJs on, etc. If you look at the “math” this really needs to be happening 45 minutes before “lights out”.
  3. HEAT IT UP: One of my favorite tricks for helping me go to sleep is the heating pad. Lay the heating pad down so that it aligns with your spine (to clarify: so that the bottom of the heating pad is just above your rear and the top of the heating pad is on your shoulders). Put it at whatever temperature you are comfortable with and turn out the lights. The heat will relax all of your extremities and your core making it easier to drift off.
  4. COUNT DOWN: I actually learned this little trick in my high school psychology class from a video that the coach popped in one day, but I have used it time and time again! Lights out, on your back, start with your toes. Make yourself very aware of relaxing your toes (it sounds funny but give it a try) and countdown from 10 with each number relaxing your toes more. Next, move to the balls of your feet and countdown from 10, then move to the arches counting down from 10, then your heels, your ankles, calves, knees, etc. {Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever made it to my knees before falling asleep.}
  5. THINK ABOUT BED AT 2PM: I know I’m gonna have some haters over this one, but really… if you have trouble sleeping at night, make sure that you are cutting off all caffeine by 2pm. You might have trouble even making it to bed the first few days if you have some withdrawal. For some people this can be a huge key to falling asleep easier.

I actually got into being very deliberate about going to sleep when I realized that I am one of those people that simply MUST meet with Jesus every morning before the day starts if I want to be a good person and to help me focus my mind on Him instead of food. And in order for me to meet with Jesus, I just have to get to sleep on time or I canNOT drag my rear out of bed. So, honestly… this whole sleep thing. It might just help out more than just your weight.

Okay, so there are my five (and I think I might have crammed several into number 2 up there), but I knwo that there are other tricks of the trade: let’s help each other out! What are your non-medication tricks for falling asleep at night?

 

Day 628: Runaway

I left my family this summer.
Well, just for two days.

Really, it was for everyone’s good.

Because this Momma was tired and needed a break pretty bad! My friend’s grandmother has a little guest house on a pond about an hour from my house, so she invited a couple of us girls to come stay out there as a little get-a-way.

I wore goofy excessively tall cowboy hats and took selfies.

runaway - hat

I slept in until 9:00am! I can’t even remember the last time I did that! I sat outside for hours all by myself. I wrote a read The Word. I sat and listened for God’s voice.

runaway - view

Cause too often I sprint through life without taking time to stop and just wait for God. I mean, I almost never just SIT for fifteen minutes and meditate and think on Him.

So today, we don’t have to go on a weekend retreat, but maybe skip the dishes for 15 minutes, go outside, and just sit and meditate. Just… think on Him.

He is there.

He is waiting.

runaway - he is there he is waiting

Day 579: Not Gonna Post

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I was going to write out a nice post today.

And then I read my own posts today on facebook and twitter and google+.

Instead I’m going to take my own advice (for once).

I’m gonna set it all aside and worship Him through rest and peace.

Go on… do the same.

Even if you aren’t reading this until late Sunday evening… stop and rest.

 

Day 274: Soul Rest

Well, things are decidedly better in my life.

This whole praising God thing has completely turned my spiritual frown… upside down!

I mean… it has just really refocused me on how awesome He is. How capable He is. And how minor I am in comparison to His Glory.

Kinda put me in my place, so to say. But it also really made me remember WHY I love Him. Why I am in awe that He lowers Himself to communicate with me. Why I want to follow Him.

Anyway, so I really have focused on my spiritual renewal lately and not as much my eating.

Can you say… Cheetos?

And, by the way, those Fig Newton “fruit thins”… yeah, they are cookies. Do not be deceived. Fruit thins… pfffffff.

So anyway, last night I was just… missing my “new” self. And I asked God… what should I do? How do I get back on “the wagon”?

His answer… You already know.

And I did already know.

And don’t we oftentimes already know what to do?

So, I started another hard-core Daniel Fast today. I’m thinking more and more that I might need to be like my friend Alice and do a hard-core Daniel Fast for way more long term.

So, for the next month I will be eating fruits, veggies, nuts, coffee, and rice and pasta only when it’s a “necessary” part of a meal.

Chips? Out.
Bread? Out.

And just today… even though I had a major sugar crash around 4pm… it was soooooooo nice to be free again. Free from my son’s leftover Cheetos. Free from the last mini-homemade-snickerdoodle muffin. Free from saltines. slices of sandwich bread.

It’s so nice to commit to God once more to honor Him, and in doing so, to lose my struggles and my burdens.

His “yoke” truly is light. And I am already enjoying this rest for my soul. (Matt 11).

Day 129: Tea Time

My friend Christy and I were talking about why we would eat at night a lot was because it was like after we got our kids down to bed that was “our time” and part of that involved “treating” ourselves. Honestly, I still have to fight the urge at this time. I used eating after the boys were in bed as a “stall” technique. It was the only way that my husband wouldn’t ask me or expect me to fold the laundry or pay the bills or whatever. If I was sitting there eating… whatever… then he couldn’t ask, or at least he didn’t ask.

Now, I turn to iced tea as my “luxury” item in the evenings. I mean, I know that it’s not a luxury item compared to some of the stuff I used to eat, but in a way it is. I mean, iced tea represents relaxation in the south… sittin outside with my feet up drinking a glass of fresh brewed (okay, okay, fresh brewed to a mom of a toddler means that it was fresh brewed today) well, that’s just luxury. decadence. relaxation. comfort.

And it doesn’t involve a single bite of chocolate.

The other night, even though by the time I had finished getting the boys in bed it was dark outside, I decided that I wanted to get myself a glass of tea and sit out on the patio and look up at the big beautiful sky as it slid from dusk into darkness. So, I sat out there and gazed up at Venus and took several deep breaths and “found” myself again… well at least until every gnat in a five mile radius descended upon me. Ha!

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Part of me (that would like to be June Cleaver… well, it’s a very smalllllll part of me) would like to say that I came right on in and got down to work folding the huge basket of laundry that I had to do, but the other part of me (that loves being January Rowe) came in and went. straight. to. sleep. Haha! Well, honestly, I have already learned that it is more difficult to fight off hunger when I am tired, sooooo I just don’t let myself get THAT tired if I can help it (note: if I can help it… I have a four year old that is going through his nightly “I’m scared” phase and a two-year old that is getting in, what I call, his vamp teeth (the sharp pointy vampire looking teeth… so sometimes I can’t keep the exhaustion away… those are “survival” days).

Really… maybe we as a society don’t take enough moments of rest. I am more “me” when I do take time to rest…

Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me. Psalm 116:7

Day Seventy-Seven: No Calorie

I am horrible at dieting. Always have been. I think because it’s all about numbers.

When I was in high school: it was about calories… how many calories did a bagel have in it?

College: it was about carbs… how many carbs did a slice of bread have?

Working woman: all about saturated fat amounts versus unsaturated fat.

Newlywed: WeightWatchers… how many points?

A Mom: high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fat levels.

It’s just too many numbers for an English major to remember, much less to add and keep track of!

I tried in the fall to keep up with my calories on the Spark People app (which was really great if one is going to keep up with calories) and I would be all into it for a few weeks but then it was just old. boring. the same thing. And I still wasn’t losing weight. So, I lost motivation and that was all she wrote! I continued to use the app but only as a weight tracker.

It was all just such a burden.

Enter: Jesus…

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. Matthew 11:28

We actually just talked about this in church on Sunday and again in women’s bible study. The “yoke” had two meanings back then… the obvious meaning would be that thing that is put on an oxen’s neck for him to pull that would then drag the cart or whatever around. But it also meant a rabbi’s (a teacher’s) beliefs and teachings that an apprentice would have to learn if he was able to choose a rabbi to follow.

And, well, Rabbi Calorie, Rabbi Carb, Rabbi Fat, Rabbi Points, Rabbi High Fructose Corn Syrup… they have all failed me. Their burdens were far too heavy for me to take on.

But Rabbi Jesus. Now that’s a different story. No calorie, no carb, no fat, no points, no high fructose corn syrup.

He has provided me with a customized heart-changing. mind-renewing. life-altering. way of life that is easy to bear and light to carry. And there are no numbers to track.

Now, that’s my kind of a diet! Haha!

Day Sixty-Five: Sleepy Snackies

Sooooo my youngest son (he’ll be two in about two months) is teething… again. And he is just as overdramatic as his mother, but even more so when he is teething. Needless to say, I got very little sleep last night.

And I’m not sure if this is common for others or not, but I get soooooooo snackie when I’m tired. And like I have said before, snacking is not “evil”, but I do think that eating when I’m not hungry isn’t part of God’s design for my body.

Well, actually, maybe it is… because what does my body do when I eat when my body doesn’t need food? It stores it… as fat. It’s kind of brilliant actually. If I’m not going to be able to eat for a long time then I might need to eat to store up for the winter (this is just an example by the way… I don’t live in an environment where I might need to do this). And God designed our bodies to be able to survive like this.

But eating when I’m not hungry and when there is an over abundance of food for today, tomorrow, and the foreseeable future isn’t what He designed.

But I think this response is similar to a hunger pang or craving. My body is searching for energy. Oftentimes I get my energy from food. But when I am “starved” of sleep then I “crave” energy. But what I really need is rest.

It’s just like me craving or needing sugar like from a clementine or a pineapple but eating a Snicker’s bar instead. I crave sleep but eat something instead.

So, what I would like to do is to take those three minutes or however long it would have taken me to get or prepare a snack and spend it resting my mind. Like most people, I can’t stop and take a nap whenever I realize that I’m hungry, but that doesn’t mean that I need to eat either. But I can take three minutes (most of the time) to rest my mind.

And not to alienate anyone who might think this is a hippy kind of thing or of some other religion, but this is a time to meditate. To meditate on God.

Here is a verse that I found to be appropriate to the situation even though it’s not about being awake at night (but being sleepy during the day feels similar). But I like how the first verse about thinking and meditating on God leads right into thoughts about God being our helper…

I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 63:6-7

But honestly as I looked up verses on meditating, most of them are about meditating on the Law. Although I don’t think of this as bringing peace or energy… David mentions it multiple times. And I tend to be surprised at the way the Word works in my soul, so something to think on… maybe even meditating on the Law could be beneficial during those times.

But, hopefully, the blessing of sleep filled nights will be on all of us!

Day Thirty-Seven: God Post

Today is not a post about eating or not eating.
Today is not a post about my struggles and my successes.
Today is not a post about… today, or yesterday, or the day before.

Today is a post about tomorrow… or the next day… or next week… next month… next year.

When I’m depressed, anxious, worried, happy, emotional, whatever…

Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me… watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30

Dang. There are just some verses that don’t really need to be expounded upon… and that is one of them. So, some day down the road when life is just… icky… I will have those verses to remember.

When I want to quit or bend the rules or ignore my covenant…

Let’s not allow ourselves to get worn out doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit. Galatians 6:9

Yes… right! Buttttttt, wait. How do I “not allow myself to get worn out”? Well…

Those who trust in God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.Isaiah 40:31

And another encouragement…

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and peace of heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.John 14:27

So, I know that I didn’t really say anything new… but today was just one of those days where I really didn’t think that I was supposed to say anything. Today, I let God do a “guest post” on my blog. Haha!